Pakistan confident

Misbah ul Haq (left) and Shahid Afridi (right).
Misbah ul Haq (left) and Shahid Afridi (right).

GEORGETOWN – Despite the loss of fast bowler Umar Gul to a knee injury and the out of form Shoaib Malik from their squad, which is scheduled to play the West Indies in a five match ODI series starting in Guyana on Sunday, Pakistan Captain Misbah-ul-Haq is confident of success on their tour of the West Indies.

After a long and tiring trip the Pakistanis arrived at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport at Timehri on Monday night and Misbah admitted to feeling the effects of the travelling.

“I am really tired at the moment but we have come here to play hard cricket and we have a good team. I am confident that if we do the right things we can be successful in the West Indies,” Misbah said.

The tourists, who lost by 10 wickets in the last ODI match played at the Guyana National Stadium on May 5, 2011, will face West Indies in the first of two ODIs on Sunday and Tuesday, in the five-match series before leaving for St Lucia for the remaining games.

The Pakistanis will face a Guyana line-up in a warm up game at Bourda tomorrow and Misbah feels playing a warm-up game before the start of the series is a good thing.

“When you go somewhere new you want to acclimatize and get accustomed to the conditions and I think this game will help us before the tour begins to get us settled down here,” the 39-year-old batsman said.

His unbeaten 94 is his highest score in 120 ODIs, but he has notched up 25 fifties and averages 43.40 and is considered a solid batsman in the middle order.

Misbah took over the leadership role at the age of 36 and his cool temperament was what Pakistan’s cricket needed after the rough period it had gone through after the spot-fixing episode in England in 2010.

On their 2011 tour here, Pakistan won the first three ODIs in St Lucia before losing by one run on the Duckworth/Lewis system in Barbados and again at Providence in the final match to win the series 3-2.

The Pakistan skipper is banking on a rejuvenated Shahid Afridi doing well in what he expects to be spin friendly conditions. Afridi and wicket-keeper Umar Akmal return to the team replacing Malik and Umar’s older brother, Kamran Akmal.

“I expect Afridi to find the conditions here more suited to his bowling, while Akmal should do the bulk of the wicket-keeping duties. Most of the players have been here before and know West Indies conditions so I expect us to do well,” Misbah explained.

“Afridi was picked mainly because he is an option who can help us on slower tracks,” Misbah revealed. Afridi, 33, has six tons and 348 wickets from 354 ODIs but has not been in great form in recent times.

Pakistan ODI squad: Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Nasir Jamshed, Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Asad Shafiq, Umar Akmal (wk), Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan, Asad Ali, Umar Amin, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Abdur Rehman, Haris Sohail.


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